God has been Israel’s God since the exodus when He delivered them from Egypt (vs4). Israel knew no other God’s but Him. God looked after Israel in the Wilderness (vs5) but when they entered into the prosperity of the Promised Land they did the very thing God warned them not to do (Deuteronomy 7-8) – ‘they forgot me’ says God (vs6).
Israel’s sin, compromise & idolatry has lead them to this place they are in now and have been in for hundreds of years – Baal worship (idols) and even child sacrifice (vs1-3).
And this is why God speaking of being is like a lion, leopard or a bear towards Israel (vs7-8), this is why God promises to ‘destroy you, O Israel, for you are against me, against your helper’ (vs9).
God traces the problem back to the days when He warned Israel of not forgetting him when He brought them into the Promised Land, and God also traces it back to the time when they rejected God as their king and clamoured for an earthly king like the nations around. At that time, God warned them that those kings would make their lives a misery and lead them astray – and this is precisely what happened when you read the history of Israel (vs9-10).
Israel refuses to let go of its sin & repent like a baby who refuses to be born (vs12-13). And so ‘Samaria shall bear her guilt because she has rebelled against her God” (vs16).
Here as elsewhere in Hosea’s prophecies, we have what Mark Dever calls the riddle of the old testament; “God is Holy, and we are not!”
We cannot be faithful to God; our kings will fail us, our prophets & priests will let us down. We need a better Saviour; we need a better prophet, priest and king – we need Jesus!